The El Paso Tribune - El Paso Texas Political Commentary
Date: May 25, 2003

The Community Scholars

Hi Dear Mr. El Paso Tribune Editor.

Read with interest this morning's article on the Community Scholars. Please find below a post -- that I tried to make to your lively e-forum -- some time back on this "scholars" issue. For some reason it just wouldn't take -- so I posted it on your competitor's equally lively forum.

Possibly it will give folks some back-ground on this issue. Why folks who are now so concerned about this issue -- simply don't take the time and examine all of these reports -- always puzzles me??? In addition, with the state's budget problems which will impact local school districts -- is this something that can continue to be afforded?

As a public e-forum -- I trust that my e-mail address will be protected.

------ Earlier post that didn't take: ----------

Hi, sorry to take SO LONG to post on this "community scholars" discussion issue. Had tried posting on the "other forum" -- but the post didn't take. Sadly, I found their beginning e-net forum "posting" a bunch of election NON-SENSE.

Since this initial "scholars" issue has taken place over a period of time -- please FORGIVE my memory -- but here's how I remember it.

Believe the "community scholars" program was initially funded through private and/or business contributions. There was an "Access To Capital Report" that drew a lot of press attention -- plus very heated "counter-fire." This lead to an "Access To Capital Summit" held at UTEP. There was also a very interesting report done by UTEP on the issue. For some reason this UTEP report didn't receive the same amount of press attention. Later think there was possibly some kind of law-suit where the scholars funding dried up.

Was at a YISD Board of Trustees Meeting -- where the district was approached to HELP FUND some scholarships for these scholars. Think the initial request was for 4 or 5 scholars -- and the cost was around $4,000 per scholarship. One former trustee, who was under heavy "press fire" on other matters -- suggested one scholarship-per-trustee-district -- for a total of 7 YISD scholarships.

Suspect each of the large school districts were approached on this scholars issue. Since STATE FUNDING is such a CRITICAL issue for us here in El Paso -- suspect all trustees were caught in a bind on this issue. None of them wanted your local taxes to go up.

Therefore, it really seems pretty DIS-HONEST to go after one trustee on this issue!!!

If these posters were REALLY so CONCERNED about taxpayers -- they would first do a ANALYSIS of the scholars' reports -- versus the cost to each district. Do their reports justify the overall cost? Second, is this really something the district's should now be doing -- especially in light of the state's funding problems? Third, is $4,000 per student -- a pretty high contribution for so few students? In short, overall student "equity" really seems a bottom line issue. Finally, in "fairness" to the students -- do these scholars help bring more state and federal money to El Paso through their efforts?

Bottom line -- to pin this issue on one trustee -- is a bunch of CRAP.

Mike Rooney


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